The Trump administration is reportedly planning to prevent H1B visa holders from extending their stay in the country until they obtain a green card, as part of a broader goal of protecting American jobs.
If implemented, the initiative will likely hurt Indian outsourcing firms severely. Newspapers in India are estimating that as many as 500,000 technology workers will have to return home.
Nasscom, India’s IT services body, has warned that such a move could weaken American prospects as well, saying that the country’s skilled talent pool holds the key to success for the technology sector.
The proposal, being drafted by Department of Homeland Security heads, is part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative promised during his 2016 campaign, according to The Miami Herald.
Each year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services grants roughly 85,000 H1B visas, which are issued for up to six years. Once expired, visa holders that have applied for green cards routinely seek extensions under the American Competitiveness Act.
President Trump has long been threatening to tweak work visa rules, saying he wants US firms to hire Americans as their preference. Soon after his presidential inauguration, he signed the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, directing federal agencies to come up with new rules and issue guidance to overhaul the immigration system.
Under his administration, H1B visa petitions are receiving more intense scrutiny, with outsourcing firms often complaining that officials were issuing costly and time-consuming challenges to the applicants.
“The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” reported the Miami Herald, quoting an unnamed homeland security official.